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Old 01-27-2010, 08:22 PM
 
12 posts, read 41,538 times
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My family is moving to AZ in the next 6 months from South Jersey. It is going to be a huge lifestyle change for us and I would like some insight from AZ residents and natives. I have never been to AZ, or to the West side of the US for that matter. I've been to WY but I don't think that is a good comparison. If no one minds, I'd like to ask a few questions about the state in general so that we can make this as smooth of a transition as possible.
1) Rattlesnakes, what area, and how concerned do I need to be for my children?
2) If we get a large piece of land (15+ acres), that is far enough away from the Mexican border, how is crime as far as robbery, break-ins and violent crimes?
3)What are the bad towns that I should know about so I know to stay away from them and to not buy land there?
4)What is the average cost to have electricity ran to your property if you buy "off the grid"?
5) How many days a week do the children attend school and for how many months a year?
6) Are there school buses?
7) Is there anything else that is different in AZ compared to NJ as far as schools, taxes and things of that nature that I should know about?
Well I think that is enough for now. If I think of anything else that is of importance to my family, I will post again. Thank you for all of your help in advance.
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Old 01-28-2010, 02:09 AM
 
Location: Metro Phoenix, AZ USA
17,861 posts, read 40,732,648 times
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Rattlesnakes should be way down your list of worries. It's very unlikely, unless you are out hiking in the desert, that you will ever see one.

Crime is a bit hard to discuss on a statewide basis, but if you are out in a rural area, and not close to the border, it should not be a huge problem. I'd still lock my doors, but the risk is not that high.

Moving here from all the way across the country without EVER having been here is a risky proposition. Are you coming out here to visit before you buy, and actually SEE anything before you buy something somewhere? Your parents' wintering in Quartzsite is a very different thing than living here year round with a young family. You haven't said anything about employment. If that's a factor, that will narrow your choices.

I've lived here all my life, and I have no idea how to answer about what are "bad towns"? Bad in what way? Even if you want a rural lifestyle, you've said you need to be in reasonable proximity to a hospital, shopping, etc. AZ is WAY more spread out than NJ.

Can't tell you about cost of running electricity to your property, but I'm guessing it is high, and of course depends on how far it has to run from the existing line.

School in most areas 9 months a year, five days a week. There are some districts in various areas that are on a twelve month calendar with a long break every few months. It just depends on where you are.

Schools vary a lot, depending on location. Some schools have a better property tax base than others, so they have newer and better facilities. Funding generally for schools in AZ is not good, but that isn't the only determinative in getting a good education. When you narrow down your options a bit, you can research school districts on some websites. Yes, most districts have buses, where the stops are in rural areas you'd have to find out from a given district.

You will find property taxes lower here, I suspect. Income taxes are relatively low, but I don't have specific figures to compare.
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Old 01-28-2010, 06:45 AM
Status: "GOP - Grifters On Parade" (set 14 days ago)
 
12,183 posts, read 19,943,438 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by observer53 View Post
Yes, most districts have buses, where the stops are in rural areas you'd have to find out from a given district.
Typically what happens is they'll put a bus stop where your access road intersects a main road. You can't expect a school bus to traverse miles of dirt to pick up one or two students.
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Old 01-28-2010, 07:53 AM
 
2,542 posts, read 6,562,089 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by observer53 View Post
School in most areas 9 months a year, five days a week. There are some districts in various areas that are on a twelve month calendar with a long break every few months. It just depends on where you are.

Schools vary a lot, depending on location. Some schools have a better property tax base than others, so they have newer and better facilities. Funding generally for schools in AZ is not good, but that isn't the only determinative in getting a good education. When you narrow down your options a bit, you can research school districts on some websites. Yes, most districts have buses, where the stops are in rural areas you'd have to find out from a given district.
It seems that many schools start at the beginning of August, which was a surprise to me coming from Michigan, and is a large factor if you want to move in the summer.

Observer is quite right on the lower funding, however, Arizona also has terribly lax requirements for teacher certification. If someone already has a bachelors' degree (doesn't matter what it is in or even when you received it, if my information is correct), you merely need around 12 specialized credits to be certified. It is so cheap and so easy that I'm thinking of doing it because it because the 3rd-4th grade teacher here needed to retire a few years ago and I haven't heard anything good about her. Last year, in Hereford, my kindergartener had a teacher that should have been no where near young children and had no training in early childhood education. All of this is vastly different from the upper Midwest, not sure about NJ. Unfortunately, I have found that those websites grading schools are terribly lacking. The statistics are only based off of test scores (which tell you only so much) and they are hugely restrictive on any negative comments in the parent comment section. I suggest trying to lower your options to 3-4 and then come back here to ask about those schools specifically and try to get as many first-hand thoughts as possible.
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Old 01-28-2010, 08:01 AM
 
2,542 posts, read 6,562,089 times
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Oh yes! That is another difference I saw when moving here--roads! Arizona has some truly horrible roads. Not any main roads (state, county)--so far they all seem really well maintained. However, you run into signs all the time that say something to the fact: "Warning: This Road is Not Maintained by the County..." along with a list of hardships that may happen. It's just that people have pushed roads in to their property, then people push in roads off of that one to their property and of course they are all dirt because the county isn't going to pave it, and then the monsoons come....

Anyhow, this is important to keep in mind when buying property. What is the road to the property like and can my vehicle traverse it? What about during monsoons? Is there a wash crossing? Etc. Also, you need to be very clear on what water rights a piece of property carries--or doesn't carry--with it.

Edit: Regarding the horrible roads--I've traversed my fair share of dirt roads and old, old logging roads before moving to AZ, just so you know my perspective is not from a city driver....
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Old 01-28-2010, 09:36 AM
 
12 posts, read 41,538 times
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<P>This is all very wonderful information!! Keep it coming. <STRONG><U>Anything that is different South Eastern AZ compared to South Jersey, post it!</U></STRONG> South Jersey is a tourist town. We have great beaches, the Wildwood Board Walk, Historical Cape May, and a bunch of NUT JOBS that come down every weekend from Memorial Day Weekend 'til Labor Day Weekend. I hate it!! I don't dare venture out on the weekends in the summer months. I take my kids to the beach on the weekdays so we can avoid bad parking, traffic jams and the never ending sea of umbrellas. We own a house on a 90x90 lot 2 blocks from the Delaware Bay. We have city water, sewer and weekly trash pick up and our property taxes are $3000 a year. For what? The schools are good I guess, but they only rate at a 2 for the middle school and a 4 for the elementary school on the school rating websites. We have 3 kids, 3 dogs and 2 cats and want to raise our family in a cheaper, quieter, more laid back area than what we are living in now. As far as work goes....I receive an inheritance from my familys business for the next 15 years. We are extremely lucky to have a guaranteed income in these horrible ecinomic times. However, we have 3 kids so in order for us to live comfortably, my husband needs a job. We were thinking of breeding dogs (I've always wanted to do this but never had the room on my 90x90 lot) or doing something else to utilize our large piece of property so that me and my husband could work at home. We have found tons of properties that are the right acrage that allow modular homes, horses and that is near public land for recreational uses but none of them have electric. WHY?? If we knew how much it costs to run the electric my parents would probably consider running it to the property&nbsp;if the lot was cheap enough and in a good location. I am flying out to AZ&nbsp;on the 15th of Feb to check it out. My parents are retired and are in Quartzsite in thier motorhome but we will be moving to the SE part of the state so that I can start to look for a nice place to raise my children. Any tips on areas to look for land in or campgrounds&nbsp;that are in a general area to where I should be looking&nbsp;would be great. I hope that I have givin everyone enough info on my situation so that you can give me any advice for making the move. Thank you to all!! If I think of any more specific questions I will post them!!</P>
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Old 01-28-2010, 09:51 AM
 
Location: Sonoran Desert
36,638 posts, read 46,886,783 times
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Things that are different between south Jersey and SE AZ? You're not serious. Try as I may, I can't think of two lifestyles that would contrast more - (sub)urban New Jersey versus off the grid in SE AZ. No/flaky cell phone, no/slow internet/limited electricity/hauling water. This is like "Green Acres". Night and day doesn't do it justice. You are in for the shock of your life when you come in Feb. There has to be some in-between that would work for you.

Last edited by Ponderosa; 01-28-2010 at 10:00 AM..
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Old 01-28-2010, 10:08 AM
 
Location: Arizona
1,034 posts, read 4,238,383 times
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I've never been to Jersey, so I can't really tell you what the differences are, but I do know property taxes are lower. I've heard mixed reviews on the education system. My sister is a 3rd grade teacher at a public school who was required to have her Bachelors in Early Childhood Education and in addition to her California certification, had to also get Arizona certification to teach. There are a few traditional schools that perform well here. The poster who talked about teachers only needing a Bachelors in any subject may be thinking of a charter school. I think Arizona has an area for everyone and I'm confident that you'll find your spot in February. Check out the areas around Tuscon, like Sierra Vista. You may also be able to find some good land around Florence, Casa Grande and Maricopa. As far as breeding dogs, I'll express my opinion that AZ in general has a large population of unwanted and abandoned pets that overflow our shelters. You'd really have to establish yourself as a highly qualified breeder of registered dogs in order to be successful otherwise you'll be selling pups in front of grocery stores. Like I said though, that is my opinion. Best of luck.
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Old 01-28-2010, 11:28 AM
 
Location: Mostly in my head
19,856 posts, read 62,819,001 times
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It can cost upwards of $50,000 to run a relatively short electric line. Your cell phone won't work if you are too far out so you need a land line, another $25,000 or so.

People who live out in the "country" in Utah really do live like pioneers; I can't image rural AZ is much different. They use a generator that needs diesal hauled out there, or they use solar (pretty expensive to install) or they use a wood stove to heat the house and kerosene lamps. Then there's the water issue. If you need to drill a well, and asuming you have the water rights to do it, check into what drilling 2,000 feet down would cost. Many people haul water from town. No garbage pickup way out "there", either. Mail delivery will be where the school bus stops, in all likelihood.

But "rural" isn't near a hospital. You are going to need to be in a smaller town near a city. And if your child needs a Level I Trauma Center b/c of specialized needs, you need to check the city's hospital as well.
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Old 01-28-2010, 12:28 PM
 
Location: Sunsites, AZ
123 posts, read 326,848 times
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We have beaches too! Just yours have water next to them . . . last year we got less than 8" of rain . . .

Check out the Pearce/Sunsites.Sunizona area (zip 85625) //www.city-data.com/forum/arizo...-thoughts.html I work at the local Elementary School as Head of Transportation I think it is a good school . . . we do run buses, but some people who live a ways out drive to meet our buses . . . we have shopping, but it will cost you more, and you can't be too picky! (Tucson is about 1.25 - 1.5 hrs away) Restaurants, gas/diesel, golf, hardware/building supply . . .
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